'Slovo' House ('Word' House)
'Slovo' House ('Word' House)
Kharkiv 'Slovo' House ('Word' House)

This house became a home for Ukrainian writers and artists in 1928. The Soviet government built it for the Ukrainian intellectuals, but soon this place turned out to be a trap.

Official status:
Historical Architecture and Urban Development Monument of local significance
Residential ancient building
Date of destruction:

Before March 7, 2022. Photo: @ukrainer

Imagine a house in one of the central streets of London with writers and poets such as Ford Maddox Ford, William Butler Yates, Ezra Pound, David Lawrence, Richard Aldington, Thomas Stearns Eliot, Thomas Ernest Hulme, the founders of the ‘Blast’ magazine, and other representatives of British modernism living all together. Or even so: let Franz Kafka, Federico Garcia-Lorca, Guillaume Apollinaire, Hugo Ball and Tommaso Marinetti live in one house in one of the European capitals.

It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?

However, such a house exists in Ukraine. It is the ‘Slovo’ House, where Ukrainian writers and artists lived. It was built at the request of the writers themselves. After World War I, the revolution of 1917, and the lost War of Independence, Ukraine faced poverty and acute housing shortages. Writers who set the trends in cultural life in the 1920s had to huddle in the corners of publishing houses, sleep on newspapers, and keep manuscripts in kitchen pots in the cramped communal apartments.

The architectural design of the building was approved in 1927: 5 entrances, 5 floors, and 66 apartments with a kindergarten on the ground floor and a solarium on the roof. From above, the house looked like the letter ‘C’ referring to the beginning of the word ‘Slovo’ («Слово») in Ukrainian.

After March 7, 2022. Photo: proslovo.com

Among its residents, there were such novelists and poets as Mykola Khvylovyi, Mike Johansen, Ostap Vyshnia, Volodymyr Yanovskyi, Pavlo Tychyna, Mykhailo Yalovyi, Ivan Bahrianyi along with the dramatist Mykola Kulish and the director Les Kurbas, whose modern theatre won the hearts of European audiences at the Venice Biennale.

Even though the works of these artists marked the period of the Ukrainian cultural revival, not so many people in the world heard of them. There is an underlying reason for it: аlmost all of them were repressed and executed by the Soviet authorities. Later, one of the most significant periods of the Ukrainian cultural revival was recalled ‘The Executed Renaissance’. Thus, the ‘Slovo’ House became its symbol.

Suddenly, the art-house became a trap for the Soviet government to identify and eliminate those who wanted to think and create freely.

The ‘Slovo’ House witnessed the arrests of its residents, who were taken from their homes in the middle of the night and put in black paddy wagons of the People’s Commissariat for the Internal Affairs (abbreviated in Ukrainian as NKVS). It was a typical scheme of that time to remove dissidents. For many years, the walls of the building kept the memory of the missing and those who were shot in distant Siberian tracts and murdered in labour camps. Just during the ‘The Executed Renaissance’ period of Stalin’s terror, about 30,000 Ukrainian intellectuals were repressed and murdered. They knew the power of the Ukrainian Word, which the Soviet authorities tried to destroy by all means. 

Then in the 1930s, everyone had to fall silent. Today, in 2022, during Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the same imperial authorities must have decided to silence even the walls of the ‘Slovo’ building, which was damaged by the Russian enemy shelling on March 7.

Whatever stored the memories may now become a memory itself.

Similar postcards
The building of the School of Economics of Karazin University
Kharkiv region The building of the School of Economics of Karazin University

Kharkiv National University named after Vasyl Karazin, founded in 1804, is one of the oldest institutions of higher education not only in Ukraine, but also in Eastern Europe.

Hryhorii Skovoroda Museum
Skovorodynivka village, Kharkiv region Hryhorii Skovoroda Museum

National Literary Memorial Museum of the Ukrainian Philosopher and Poet (18th-century building).

Freedom Square (‘Maidan Svobody’)
Kharkiv Freedom Square (‘Maidan Svobody’)

The central square of Kharkiv. It ranks sixth in Europe. Here are the most important administrative institutions of the city.

Pavlov Manor
Kharkiv Pavlov Manor

190-years-old architectural monument in the classical style,  built in 1832, which used to be the manor of Kharkiv officials and became an excellent illustration of Kharkiv’s life in the 19th century.

Sports complex of Kharkiv Polytechnic
Kharkiv Sports complex of Kharkiv Polytechnic

Built thanks to the cooperation of students, professors, and institute personnel of the Kharkiv Polytechnic between 1985 and 1991, the sports complex became the site for practising over 30 different kinds of sport, as well as an Olympic training base and the only sports facility in Ukraine to receive the State Award in architecture.

Kharkiv school № 7
Kharkiv Kharkiv school № 7

An ancient building, erected in one of the historical neighbourhoods of Kharkiv in the early 20th century. Several generations of Ukrainians have studied at this school for more than a hundred years.

Former women’s gymnasium
Izium, Kharkiv region Former women’s gymnasium

A building of the beginning of the ХХ century in eclecticism style, which housed a female gymnasium from the time of construction and until the 1920s.

Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord
Kharkiv region Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord

Church in the largest residential area of Kharkiv – Saltivka. The architecture of the building, built in 2013 for the Independence Day of Ukraine, resonates with Ukrainian Baroque traditions.

Kharkiv Art Museum
Kharkiv region Kharkiv Art Museum

One of the largest Fine Arts museums of Ukraine. The museum’s collection is one of the oldest and most valuable artistic properties of Ukraine.

Kharkiv State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Mykola Lysenko
Kharkiv Kharkiv State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Mykola Lysenko

One of the oldest musical theaters and the first permanent opera house of Ukraine. Its history dates back to the end of the 18th century.

Institute of Metrology
Kharkiv Institute of Metrology

The main center of ensuring the accuracy of measurements in Ukraine with more than a century of history.

Kharkiv Court of Appeal
Kharkiv Kharkiv Court of Appeal

Former House of Judicial Institutions was constructed in the best Neo-Renaissance traditions. The building has the features of Italian palazzos and the exterior of the house stands out due to its sophisticated design.

Palace of Labour
Kharkiv Palace of Labour

An extraordinary building of the early 20th century in the architectural ensemble of the Constitution Square in Kharkiv built in the Art Nouveau and Neoclassicism styles.

Memorial to the Victims of Totalitarianism
Kharkiv Memorial to the Victims of Totalitarianism

In 1940, 3809 captive Polish officers and 500 Polish civilians were shot here by order of the Soviet government.

Constitution Square
Kharkiv Constitution Square

The oldest square in the city. From XVIII to early XX centuries, this place became the centre of the city culture.

Mala Rohan village, Kharkiv region Drobytsky Yar 

Holocaust Memorial Complex (menorah monument of 2002).

Holy Dormition Cathedral
Kharkiv Holy Dormition Cathedral

The cathedral is the oldest Orthodox church in Kharkiv and has great historical and art value.

Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin
Derhachi town, Kharkiv region Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

A brick church constructed on the site of a wooden temple. The first mention of this building dates back to 1691.

Fire Department with watchtower
Kharkiv Fire Department with watchtower

Architectural monument, built in 1884–1886. For more than 130 years, the building has helped save the city and its citizens from fires.

See more postcards
Go to Top